Evolution vs. Creation

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Boris, May 30, 1999.

  1. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    Plato's got it right; I've been to hell and back the last few days, and it ain't over yet. I'll be jumping back in and having a go at both of you come this weekend. Until then, enjoy this repast while it lasts!

    I am; therefore I think.
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  3. Adlerian Registered Senior Member

    Boris: As Plato said, good luck with the exams even though you realize that the outcome is already predeterimed because of the deterministic nature of the universe!

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    I have all the faith in the world in you. You are highly intelligent and I am SURE you will do well. Please let us know how you did.

    I will throughly enjoy this repast!

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  5. Adlerian Registered Senior Member

    Boris: While you are gone I thought I'd add this to the repast.

    I would like to bring up the point that evolution bears a likeness to a myth.

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    A myth is a traditional story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the world view of a people as by explaining aspects of the natural world.

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    Now Edith Hamilton says in her book, “Mythology”, “Greek mythology is largely made up of stories about gods and goddesses, but it must not be read as a kind of Greek Bible, an account of the Greek Religion. According to the most modern idea, a real myth has nothing to do with religion. It is an explanation of something in nature; how, for instance, any and everything in the universe came into existence: man, animals, this or that tree or flower, the sun, the moon, the stars, storms, eruptions, earthquakes, all that is and all that happens. Thunder and lightning are caused when Zeus hurls his thunderbolt. A volcano erupts because a terrible creature is imprisoned in the mountain and every now and then struggles to get free. The Dipper, the constellation called also the Great Bear, does not set below the horizon because a goddess once was angry at it and decreed that it should never sink into the sea. MYTHS ARE EARLY SCIENCE, the result of men’s first trying to explain what they saw around them.” Yep, that's what she said, and the lady was right!

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    The difference in modern science is supposed to be that we can test hypotheses in a lab or somewhere and do repeatable experiments. This is NOT the case with evolution. There have been tests to try to prove abiogenesis and they have been dismal failures. The most scientists have been able to come up with in such tests were some acids. They have never been able to create a single molecule of DNA in the lab from raw elements. They never will. There are no tests that have been done that show that the theory of evolution is a positive fact. Most of which has been mere interpretations of evolution working backwards. The theory of evolution should have been abandoned long ago with phlogiston and the “ether” but has continued to the present day by apatetic scientific legerdemain. The theory NEVER presents itself in a risky form and according to Karl Popper THAT makes it a poor theory. I concur.

    Two good tests for the theory would be the creation of DNA by means of chance or the creation of a separate genus using hybridization. If evolution would say that if either of those could happen and then test its new risky hypothesis it would be a valid theory and would be shown to be false. Small wonder it won’t submit itself to tests like those. It would prove that the theory is made of wind. The hot air of scientists from Darwin to Dawkins.

    The theory of evolution was put forth by Charles Darwin to explain some different birds he saw on an island. Like the Greeks of old he concocted a tale without proof that explained some natural phenomenon that he saw. And like the myths he was wrong.


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  7. Plato Registered Senior Member


    come on what are you saying ? Evolution research has since long moved to the lab.
    May be the field of mycology is only done with exiting examples but the research with virusses has gone far further then that.
    One is able to create new virus species in labs through evolution. Changing the environment induces a shift in the quasi species towards a new form.
    This is all very well documented if you take any search engine and do a search on "Quasi Species" you'll see what I mean.
    Besides, even though you aren't saying it with so many words you are puttings things upside down. De bible is filled with myths of which the creation story is one of many.

    I err, therefore I exist !

    [This message has been edited by Plato (edited May 24, 2000).]
  8. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    I must say I appreciate your utter civility in this particular debate -- no kidding, I sincerely do -- but it ain't bying you any cookies as far as the argument is concerned. I must say I am astonished at your claims of no supporting evidence, flying right in the face of an overabundance of supporting evidence. It takes guts, if nothing else. But let's take it one step at a time here:

    All right, enough with exhortations of logic and pleas for reason. Clearly, you are unwilling to accept the fact that mammals are just another class of animals, and that as a class of living organisms they are just as susceptible to change as any other class. You are unwilling to accept the simple arguments based on DNA variability and selective pressures. Fine, I'll just go straight for the jugular here. I searched the web and read some stuff there for about an hour, and was able to come up with all of the following references on mammalian evolution:

    <A HREF="http://ib.berkeley.edu/labs/patton/research.html">The Patton Lab (at University of California, Berkeley) -- they do studies of mammalian biosystematics, with emphasis on phylogenesis and speciation</A>
    <A HREF="http://www.grisda.org/reports/or11_67.htm">A literature review on chromosomal changes in mammalian speciation from Geoscience Research Institute</A>
    <A HREF="http://www.clpgh.org/cmnh/research/jeholodens/index.html">A short little presentation about a long-extinct mammal species allegedly lying close to the root of the mammal family tree</A>
    <A HREF="http://bioscience.igh.cnrs.fr//1998/v3/d/andersso/d739-745.htm">A sweet little analysis of evolution of a particular region on a human chromosome</A>
    <A HREF="http://www.panda.org/resources/publications/species/underthreat/saltmarshmouse.htm">A saltmarsh harvest mouse with two distinct geographically segregated subspecies</A>

    I could probably go on and on, but I don't particularly want to. As a scientist and (presumably) a researcher, I should have expected you to find this evidence and more all by yourself. But there you go -- an hour effort's worth. If you are really willing to learn, browse those links. Suffice it to say that there is no less evidence for mammalian evolution than there is, say, for reptilian evolution. I must admit though, that during the search I came up against a lot of garbage, and there were relatively few relevant links. It appears that the issue of mammalian evolution is not considered to be central to theories of evolution, as people concentrate on studying simpler organisms first.

    I disagree. There is a difference between reducing everything to atoms, versus reducing everything to DNA. While the former indeed does not offer much help in understanding evolution, the latter makes all the difference in the world. The mechanism of life is indeed the same for all DNA-based species of life on Earth, and that makes us all susceptible to evolution. It really is as simple as that.

    You clearly have not seen the brains of the more primitive mammals. Well, I have actually happened to hold them in my palm. The brain of a rat is not only incredibly tiny, it doesn't even have well-developed hemispheres; it certainly has no gyri (smooth, in other words), and it has an overall layout that makes it hard to visually distinguish from the brain of a reptile -- unless you are an expert. For your information, ravens are much smarter than most mammals. They can solve complex problems, plan ahead and use tools. In other words, I'm afraid that the raven has it over the gerbil many times.

    I would not call our intellect such a radical difference, at least in terms of biology. We still share over 98% of our DNA with chimps. It is more correct to say that there is a continuum of intellect across the primate species, and that our species has crossed a certain threshold where the intellect became a runaway process. And while our cognitive capacity makes us different indeed, in the eyes of evolution such a difference is not "radical". And speaking of man -- how else do you propose to explain the existence of races, if not by considering them to be the beginnings of speciation in Homo Sapiens?

    No, really? And what mechanism do you propose for such a bizarre restriction?

    So, you are concerned only with facts you can readily observe. Well, how on earth do you propose to observe a process that normally takes at least thousands of years? Are you planning to live that long? Direct observation is not the only way to obtain empirical evidence in science. Indirect evidence is much more prevalent, and no less valuable, than direct observation -- especially since sometimes, and as is the case with evolution, direct observation is downright impossible. For example, if I claim that the Sun will eventually go Nova, are you going to disbelieve me until you actually have a chance to observe it? Or, if I suggest that mountain ranges are created by tectonic plate movement, are you going to suggest that I demonstrate a mountain range appearing in real-time right before your eyes?

    The argument is not really about whether the poodle and the wolf are distinct species, but whether they are in fact likely to interbreed in the wild. To me, it's obvious that they are not. And if so much morphological change is allowed by the dog genome as to allow a range between a wolf and a chihuahua, then there is clearly enough latitude to naturally form variants that are not going to interbreed in the wild. And once such variants are formed, they will undergo their own genetic enrichment and drift, and spawn their own variants, and so on -- until at a certain point some of the offspring of this entire process will be altogether unable to reproduce. Tell me where I'm not making sense here, because I can't figure it out.

    Here's one counterexample (pulled off http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html ):
    Last time I checked, house mice were mammals. Anyway...

    Perhaps you could elaborate on how it is exactly that we are currently observing speciation in "other animals" that is arising out of clinal variation? By what criterion, in other animals, would you judge two species to have just split from each other along clinal lines? In my research on C. parva, I found the following website with an incredibly long list of all kinds of different shrews (among other insectivores): http://www.birminghamzoo.com/ao/insecvor.htm . I mean, judging by the names there are at least 8 different species of small-eared shrew alone all living in North and South Americas! Given the astonishing variety of shrews out there, is it in fact not a foregone conclusion that they all arose from some common ancestor (if not, where did this tremendous amount of slight variations on the same theme come from?) Obviously, if c.parva produced another species from one of its clinal variations, it would be called c.somethingelse -- in which case, you would still be able to claim that c.parva never speciated. I mean, how do you know that at least some of the species of genus cryptosis out there are not immediately related to c.parva???

    Well, why don't you just consider the entire genus of Canis while you're at it? After all, there have been produced hybrids of wolves and dogs (wolfdogs), and jackals and dogs, and coyotes and dogs (coydogs), and what are dingoes if not wild dogs? Still, strange as it is, they are all considered to be distinct species. Any ideas?

    Let me put it another way: if you have proof that it happens twice, are you going to complain that there is no proof that it can happen three times? When is it going to be enough proof? Let me put it another way: if you indeed find the mathematics compelling, then on what basis do you choose to contest them? Finally, what constitutes "definitive proof" for you? (I mean, as far as I'm concerned, there is an overabundance of "definitive proof" of evolution already!) I can't believe you seriously expect scientists to attempt observing emergence of new species of mammals in the lab!!!

    I'm sorry, what I meant is "overwhelming" and "incontrovertible" in the context of an impartial judge. With respect to extremist views, there is never anything that is overwhelming or incontrovertible -- I mean, there still are people alive today who seriously argue that the Earth is just a few thousand years old. Now, with respect to the 'scientific community' -- are you specifically talking about evolutionary theorists, or are you talking about people who have contributed nothing to biology, have their PhD in Philosophy, and argue for Creation simply because they can? You are right, this discussion should not be taking place. The very fact that it is (and not just on this board by any degree), is a source of unending melancholy and chagrin over the human race for yours truly.

    As I said, this particular animal may be sufficiently well-adapted to be highly fit in a variety of diverse environments. What <u>you</u> perceive as pressure to adapt for this particular animal, might not actually exist. On the other hand:

    I have kept taking your claims seriously, and trying to come up with possible scenarios to explain the alleged facts. But I have to wonder just on what analysis is such a conclusion based? I'd like to see a reference to a peer-reviewed study of recent origins, please.

    Try to write up and get approved a grant proposal for such a study, and you will discover why nobody in their right mind is about to do it. Also, just when do you consider an evolved bacterium to form a separate genus, if you explicitly know that it evolved from some other genus? Clearly, you can radically change a bacterium's characteristics through repeated speciation -- but what's the point of such "research"? These days, it's much faster to directly engineer genes into bacteria, rather than try to evolve them for some task.

    No, the reason "they" won't try such an experiment, is because nobody wants to waste their time or money. But if you really think there is promise in the experiment, then perhaps you should befriend a microbiologist and convince him/her to carry out such an experiment, with funding from some Creationist organization?

    Just what does <u>that</u> mean? The genetic structure IS the basis of an animal, and it forms a literal record of everything that's happened in the animal species' past. Are you asking us to disregard one of the most reliable, powerful, and available sources of evidence for evolution just because it inconveniences your point of view???

    Come on, this is bordering on absurdity. The "ability" is not something to be "found" -- it is something totally self-evident! You have a code for an organism, and the code undergoes periodic random alterations. Some survive and prosper, others do not. That's all there is to the "ability". And we can trace the morphology of the DNA to cross-species ancestral relationships. I should hope this is not rocket science.

    What debate??? You need debate to figure out that people have different skin colors, different skeletal proportions, different skull shapes, different facial proportions, different genetic diseases, different tolerances for exertion, etc.?

    Not sure what you're trying to say. On <A HREF="http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/species.html">this page</A> (relatively recently updated), I count 13. As to my claim that various hominid species spread out all over the globe repeatedly, wiping out previous species, I got the info from Scientific American January 2000 issue (it's one of the feature articles.)

    I'll tell you what is absurd. If there was only one line of evidence for evolution, then "strongly suggests" would indeed smell of an assumption. However, when there are many, independent, lines of evidence, each of which "strongly suggests" the same exact thing -- then it is truly absurd to refuse to acknowledge that what is being suggested is more than a mere assumption (it has long since become a theory.)

    This is not at all what I said. It is not necessary for the parts to have the same characteristics as the whole, in order for us to be able to determine the characteristics of the whole based on knowledge of the parts. And reductionism is not an error; it is a fundamental modus operandi of modern science.


    As regards your "mythology" post, I should like to ask: do you consider modern cosmology to be full of myths? After all, you can't reproduce a Big Bang in your lab, can you? I've already alluded to the importance of indirect evidence, and in this thread we've discussed such evidence in the form of DNA, fossils, prenatal development, mathematics, morphology, patterned diversity of contemporary life, actual observations of simpler lifeforms undergoing evolution in short timespans, even an example of contemporary mammal speciation, lack of any apparent plan in biological design, and probably some more that I'm forgetting. Just how wet do you have to get before you admit that it's raining?

    I am; therefore I think.
  9. Infinity Registered Senior Member

    We didn't evolve from an Ape nor from Neanderthals or whatever the hell you want to call it. We evolved from these 3-4 foot creatures which were a mix between a Cat and a Monkey. They also had sharp long claws if im not mistaken.

    Now, let's all sit back and relax and have some cocoa...
  10. Xeno Registered Senior Member

    Why is the bible based on the concept of 2 genders? What about an alien race out there with a complex sexual reproductive cycle made up of 5 or 6, or even 15 or 20 genders? I know God is a dominent force, but why a He, or a Man? That sounds kinda messed up to me. The bible may be something else to you guys, but to me it symbol of Ignorance.
    Here we have more arising issues that put up opposition to the Bible's many points, and all the bible can do is back itself up with things like:
    1) Separate thinking being the work
    of the Devil
    2) Everything in bible is right because
    it was written by God and the people
    who were extremely close to God.
    3) Visions and Prophets and all the
    strange phenomena having to do with
    the bible and God
    4) Revelations, which tells of the
    second coming of Jesus
    5) The story of hell and heaven
    and how you have to have Faith to
    be excepted into heaven.
    Sure, Lori and those other christians may think up ways to counter this and attack me by saying that my thinking is the work of the devil and that my spirit is possessed by the devil, blah blah blah... (on and on forever). The story of Genesis tells that the
    entire human civilization began with only a man and a women. But then what about genetics? Based on its studies, wouldn't that mean that our entire race is nothing more than a bunch of human inbreds? If our race was built up on only two people then
    how is it that we haven't been killed off by a genetic disease yet, and how come our entire civilization has a great gene diversity?
  11. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

    There is more genetic diversity in one group of monkeys (for example) than in the entire human race - explain that.

    Love yourself, as you would love a stranger
  12. Xeno Registered Senior Member

    And where is your proof to back that up? How could one group of monkeys have more genetic diversity than the human race? Why don't you give an answer to that? All I was stating above (narrowing it down) was that it is impossible for the human race to have such genetic diversity if they came only from a male and a female origenally.

    Look at it this way:
    Cheetahs are an endangered race right
    now because there is a lack of genetic
    diversity amongst them. Because of this,
    a great deal of them are dying from
    genetic diseases. And guess what...?
    All of this is because they interbreed
    with eachother. Now look at the human
    race. We've got people living all over
    the world of different backgrounds and
    color. The human race is so genetically
    diverse it isn't funny. I don't believe
    we could've gotten here if we came
    from only two people in the first place.
  13. Tesserect Registered Member

    It seems no one has written to this message board in over a month so I wonder if anyone still pays attention? Oh well, my question is this. I am a christian but I also believe in evolution and I am trying to bring the two together. According to Genesis it states that plants where created on the 3rd day and the sun, moon, and stars where created on the 4th day. Given that the days referred to in Genesis are probably longer than one day I was wondering if anyone had a good explanation for this. I have read where some people say that it was because of clouds that completely covered the earth and that they did not dissipate until after the plants had evolved. This sorta fits but then one has to ask why did plants evolve that need direct sunlight if there was none available. Others have suggested that God created the earth separately and only brought earth and Sun, moon, and stars together on the 4th day. Again this sorta works but only if you suppose that God actually used days and not longer periods of time or else the plants would die...unless God keep them alive by himself. Of course you could ask why not just make the sun first and save himself the effort. If you have a good synthesis of creation and evolution I would like to hear from you. Thanks
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Actually, Tesserect, I'm surprised to see this thread resurrected. Well, I'm not, but only 'cuz it's persisted for a year.

    You may have noticed that we spend an awful lot of time here debating literal vs. figurative interpretations of the Bible. I'm afraid I must tax you in order to begin this point of argumentative communion, and ask whether you consider the Bible literally true, as written, or something else (myth, allegory, historical compendium, literary exposition, &c.).

    If it's literal, we'll be about this for a while: Exosci's posters have never been able to resolve that argument well enough to collectively go forward based on the outcome.

    If it's figurative, I then would invoke an old idea I've carried with me, that involves a simple game played with a pen, paper, and six-sided die. I've explained it several times here, and wish to spare my fellow posters a repeat performance. For the time being, I would beg that it should suffice to say that random events, confined in their physical space and in their laws of behavior, begin to resemble the appearance and nature of their environment (confines). Such that the result of a randomization experiment set within a triangle creates a regular pattern of triangles.

    As such, I make a fairly simple leap of faith & intellect to say that, should the environment be the whole of the Universe (e.g.--God), then we, the triangles resulting from the equation, have come about in the only manner permitted by the formula; thus, we are made in "God's" image (the image of the Universe, as such).

    It's a starting point; I generally expect such notions to be rejected, yet I offer it merely as a plateau from which to leap faithfully, perhaps blindly, and hopefully grinning all the way down into the rhetorical sea we call home.

    (Welcome to Exosci.

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    We are unutterably alone, essentially, especially in the things most intimate and important to us. (Ranier Maria Rilke)
  15. Lori Registered Senior Member

    I think it's both. It's literal history, and it's also metaphorical, or I guess that's figurative, to situations in your life. That's how it seems to me anyway. Like, reading the history for me, invokes analogies for situations in my life, or things going on around me. Does that make sense?

    You may think I'm a nut, but I'm fastened to the strongest bolt in the universe.
  16. ilgwamh Fallen Angel Registered Senior Member

    Here is a literal synthesis of Genesis 1:1-19 that shows that the Biblical account of creation is in perfect harmony with the scientific one. In fact, it makes a very strong case for the inspiration of the Bible.

    Genesis 1 under Fire

    1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    The Bible starts off with God creating the universe. It should be noted that the existence of God is assumed and never argued in the Bible. This statement immediately catches our attention as it proclaims a beginning. It tells us that the universe did not always exist. God existed before the universe and created it. This tells us that the God of the Bible transcends space and time. He is the transcendent personal creator that formal arguments like the Kalam Cosmological one require. A being not limited by space and time. An uncaused first cause that violates no formal rule or logical principle.

    Anyone with any science training in science should see a direct corrolary between Genesis 1:1 and Big Bang Cosmology. Science has unequivocally demonstrated that our universe had a beginning from General Relativity to the Big Bang to the second law of thermodynamics. Not to mention all the philosphical problems that arise in an infinite universe.

    It should also be noted that the word used for create in Genesis 1:1 (bara) is used only in describing divine activity. The subject of this verb is always God. It is a type of creating that only God can do. On a side note, reading verses like John 1:1 we see that Jesus Christ also created all things. Clearly evidence of his Deity.

    Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."

    "[T]he universe we can see, detect, and measure was made from that which we cannot see, detect, or measure." (Ross, The Genesis Question, pg 20.)

    The Biblical declaration of a transcendant creator who created the the entire universe goes unchallenged when placed next to other "holy books." Hugh Ross on page 20 in the Genesis Question tells us that, "No other "holy book" makes such a claim on its own. The concept appears elsewhere only in those books that borrow from the Bible, such as the Koran and the Mormon wrtiings. Ross also goes on to say that, "New scientific support for a hot big-bang creation event, for the validity of the space-time theorem of general relativity, and for ten-dimensional string theory verifies the Bibles claim for a beginning."

    It should also be noted that the words translated "heavens and earth" (shamayim and erets )have many different meanings in Hebrew. Hebrew is a very small language. The english language has millions of words while Biblical Hebrew has just over 3,000. But these two words form a coumpound noun and consistently refer to the entire physical universe when found together.

    On a side note here are some of the definitions of shamayin and erets.

    samayin (shamayin is the plural form hence heavens)
    heaven, heavens, sky, visible heavens, sky, as abode of the stars, as the visible universe, the sky, atmosphere, Heaven (as the abode of God)

    "Erets is applied in a more or less extended sense-- (1) to the whole world, (Genesis 1:1) (2) to land as opposed to sea, (Genesis 1:10) (3) to a country, (Genesis 21:32) (4) to a plot of ground, (Genesis 23:15) and (5) to the ground on which a man stands. (Genesis 33:3)" [Smith's Bible Dictionary]

    land, the entire earth, country, territory, district, region, tribal territory, piece of ground, land of the living

    You should be able to find these definitions in any concordance or dictionary. The reason I gave the definitions is because of the importance of the meaning of the word erets in determining the extent of the Genesis Flood. It shows that a localized flood can also be literally gleaned from the Bible and that the waters need not cover the entire earth but a small portion of it according to the acccount. The Flood account is often labeled 'an exaggeration of history" because there is a lot of evidence for localized floods like the one described in the Bible. But I fear I am starting to chase rabbits and must get back on course.

    We are now moving on to Genesis 1:2 which is a very important verse that changes our reference frame during the creation account. We started off with God creating everything. We now jump to the earth.

    Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

    Our reference frame is now on the earth's surface not in the starry realm. The text says "darkness was over the surface of the deep and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Ross in the Genesis Question on pg 24, (figure 3.1) tells us that ,"The events of the six Genesis creation days are described from the point of view of the surface of the ocean, underneath the cloud layer, as the second verse of Genesis clearly states." This is a crucial shift as we will soon see.

    Genesis 1:3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light."

    Is this the creation of electromagnetic radiation? The first appearance of light? According to science it cannot be as the sun was around before the earth. Light was created in the beginning. The initial conditions of the earth's surface was darkeness. There were still planetesimals and all kinds of debris from our original solar nebula surrounding the earth. New evidence in planetary formation shows that all planets start off with thick layers of gases surrounding them. (info from Astronomer Hugh Ross) Planetary debris and these gases keep sunlight from reaching the surface of new planets. Planets start off with opaque atmospheres and this makes the surface dark. This is what the bible is describing. It is only referring to one small part of the electromagnetic spectrum: visible light. It is also not saying that electrons went up an orbital and came back down for the very first time. As verse 1:2 shows, our perspective is on the earth's surface and light appeared (aka sunlight was starting to break through the debris and gas).

    The Hebrew supports this. "The Hebrew verb used in God's opening statement, "Let there be light," is haya, meaning "to exist; to be; to happen; or to come to pass." The verbs bara, asa, and yasar, meaning "create," "make," and "form," respectively are not used, and this word choice makes sense." (Ross, The Genesis Question pg 30-31)

    Gravity would have over time cleared up some debis and stuff. Genesis 1:3 when understood properly accurately describes the early state of our atmosphere and its transition from opaque to translucent. We now move on to verses 4 and 5 which go together.

    Genesis 1:4-5 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.

    Now that the atmosphere is no longer opaque we can tell that there is such a thing as day and night. The suns light wasn't able to reach the surface and therefore day and night were nonexistant on the earth until this time.But now that the light comes through we can tell that here is a day and night cycle. It should be noted that the sun still cannot be seen from earth at this time. The atmosphere has gotten more light-permeable but it is not until its transition from translucent to transparent that the outline of the sun can be seen.

    Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the creation account between Christians is the length of the "days" in Genesis. Young-earthers argue that God created everything in 6 days. Old-earthers like myself would say God created this stuff over billions of years. Now I want to point out to young-earthers and others alike that I am not saying it is impossible for God to have created the universe in 6 days. If he wanted to I assume he could have. But I am distinguishing here between what God could have done and what God did do.

    We all naturally (newtonian thinking) assume one day is exactly 24 hours no matter what. But one day on on Jupiter is about nine hours. On Venus, one day is longer than its entire year!!! It takes longer to rotate once about its axis than it does to traverse one complete revolution around the sun on Venus! To God a day is a thousand years.... Einstien came along and radically changed our newtonian view of space and time. Gerald L. Schroeder in his book "The Science of God" has argued that God could have created the universe in 6 days in his reference but from ours it took 15 billion years. This may sound like science-fiction but rest assured it is not. There is a time dilation formula that anyone who knows simple algebra can use. The postulates of relativity are the roots of time dilation. There are no absolute reference frames and the speed of light is always constant regardless of its source's motion (2 postulates of relativity). Using these facts we could create a "light clock" and very easily demonstrate in a thought experiment that time does dilate. Time is not universal. All of our times travel at slightly different rates. The difference in rates is so small that here on earth we call them negligible or zero. Traveling at relativistic speeds changes the picture entirely. There are a few parts of Shhroeder's work/interpretation that I disagree with but I generally find his info to be very interesting. Especially the time dilation stuff. I would suggest picking up a copy of that book. On a side note, I have quoted from Hugh Ross already and will continue to do so. I would definately suggest any of Hugh Ross' work/books as his material is very accurate, well researched, and up to date. You can visit his online ministry at www.reasons.org as well.

    We briefly touched on the "days" in Genesis up above. The Niv study Bible text note on verse 1:5 (first appearance of the word "day" in the Bible) says, "Some say the creation days were 24-hour days, others that they were indefinate periods." I want to delve a little deeper into the subject and look at the Hebrew meanings of the word translated "day."

    The word for "day" in the Genesis account is yowm. Yom means a few things: sunrise to sunset, sunset to sunrise, a space of time (defined by an associated term), an age; time or period (without any reference to solar days). The third definition of yowm up above shows why the Niv text note says, "Some say the creation days were 24-hour days, others that they were indefinate periods." It says that because a literal interpretation of the text can also say 6 epochs instead of 6 days. There is noithing in the Genesis account that must be translated as 6 literal 24 hour days. Look up the word "day" in a concordance or Hebrew lexicon.

    Look at Genesis 2:4 The word yowm can be found in there but it does not refer to a literal 24 hour period. It refers to God's creative week. "The word "day" sometimes signifies an indefinite time (Genesis 2:4; Isaiah 22:5; Hebrews 3:8, etc.). In Job 3:1 it denotes a birthday, and in Isaiah 2:12, Acts 17:31, and 2 Timothy 1:18, the great day of final judgment." [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

    Some have suggetsed that because of the ordinal (ie fist day, second day etc) that the "days" must be interpreted as 6/24 hour periods. "This argument can be challenged on several counts. For one, it is true only for passages describing days of human activity rather than days of divine activity. For another, nowhere else does the Bible have the occasion to enumerate sequential epochs. More important, the rules of Hebrew grammar do not require that yôm must refer to twenty-four hours, even when attached to an ordinal.

    Hosea 6:2 prophesies that "after two days he [God] will revive us [Israel]; on the third day he will restore us." For centuries Bible commentators have noted that the "days" in this passage (where the ordinal is used) refer to a year, years, a thousand years, or maybe more. [Ross, Creation and Time, chapter 5 which is available online]

    We now move on to the "evening" and "morning" in the Genesis account. We have discussed a lot so I will quote the scripture I am referring to in case anyone has forgotten it: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day. (Gen 1:5)" We already went through the "day" but do "evening" and "morning" signify a literal 24 hour day? Well, here are the Hebrew words translated morning and evening and their definitions:

    The words translated evening and morning in hebrew are the words 'ereb' and boqer'

    ereb: the beginning of darkness; dusk, twilight, or nightfall; closing, ending, or completion.

    boqer: the breaking forth of light; dawn, daybreak, or morning; dawning, beginning or origin.

    If you look in a concordance you should see this stuff.

    "The Hebrew word 'ereb, translated evening, also means "sunset," "night," or "ending of the day." And the word boqer, translated morning, also means "sunrise," "coming of light," "beginning of day," "break of day," or "dawning," with possible metaphoric usage.

    In other words, evening and morning refer to the beginning and ending components of "day," however it is used. For example, "in my grandfather's day" refers to my grandfather's lifetime. So the morning and evening of his day would be his youth and old age." [Ross, Creation and Time, chapter 5, available online]

    There is also a very unusual syntax regarding the wording of Genesis 1:5 and the other "days" mentioning "evening" and "morning" in Genesis 1 contain this very unusual syntax as well. The Bible, apparently, leaves the age of the earth and universe open. It should be noted that Christians argue way to much over the age of the Earth and universe. The Bible is much more concerned with who created the universe and why it was created than when this agent created the universe. I usaully avoid young earth/old earth debates. If you want to believe that the earth is 6,000 or 4.6 billion years old then you are free to do so. But as I have shown, it is Biblically ok to believe in a 4.6 billion year old earth and a 14.5 billion (as three new measurements in 1999 suggested) year old universe. You can read enthusiastically about the new findings in 10 Dimensional superstring thoery while being a Christian who humbly reads and follows God's word!

    One other area of the "day" debate that I felt needed to be addressed is the use of the word "day" in one of the 10 Commandments.

    Exodus 20:8-11, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    Does this declare that the creation account must be interpreted as a literal seven 24 hour day week? No it does not. The Bible tells us to work 6 days and to rest one. The Bible teaches that God created everything in 6 epochs and had 1 "epoch" of rest. This commandment is pointing to God's creative week as an analogy. This point is further driven home by Exodus 23:10-12.

    "For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. 12 "Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed."

    6 days of work to one of rest.
    6 epochs of creation to one of rest
    6 years of sowing and harvesting and one of rest

    The common ratio here is 6 to 1. As we see, there is nothing in the Bible requiring a 168 hour creative week. We are now moving on to verses 6-8.

    Genesis1:6-8 "And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day.

    I very rarely see objections raised about this verse so I will be brief. This verse seems to be a description of the formation of our troposphere. Remember the account is given from the reference from of a human observer on the earth's surface. God himself designed our atmosphere and the way it would work.

    Genesis 1:9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so.

    Early earth had a primordial ocean covering the planet. The only land that existed was at the bottom of the ocean. Dry ground appeared. I rarely see anyone fuss over these verses either so I will move on to the next verses.

    Genesis 1:11-13 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day.

    The Bible does not say all land vegetation was produced here. God chose this time for the earth to flourish with vegetation. It should also be noted that this land vegetation was created before the sun. I will go over that dilemna when we get to the 4th day.

    "The words "seed," "trees," and "fruit" have much more specific meaning in English than in Hebrew, and this difference has laed to some misunderstanding and unwarrented criticism of the text. The Hebrew nouns used here, zera, es, and peri, mean, respectively, "semen" or "the embryos of any plant species," "any large plant containing woody fiber," and "the food and / or embryos produced by any living thing." Zera and peri could refer to any plant species that has ever existed. The es certianly includes all large plants containing cellulose and could possibly refer to all larger-than-microscopic plants whose fibers provide a measure of stiffness. Thus, these terms do include the relatively primitive plant species scientists have identified as the first land vegetation." [Hugh Ross, the Genesis Question, pg 39]

    Genesis 1:14-19 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day."

    Does the Bible really teach the sun came after the plants? How could the plants survive without the sun? Young earthers have attempted to discredit the "day age" interpretation of scripture saying that if each "day" (we already covered "day") were millions or billions of years then how could the plants survive without the sun until day four? THey claim that their literal 24 hour interpretation solves this dilemna in that the plants could have made it for one day. This is not true. Without the sun the tempreature would have been close to absolute zero. It would have been way to cold for plants to even survive one day. Young earth creationists must appeal to the God of the gaps and say God sustained the plants to resolve this dilemna. I will appeal to the Hebrew language and verse 1:2 which establishes our reference frame.

    These verse do not describe the creation of our sun and moons for the first time but the transition of our atmosphere from translucent to transparent. As we pointed out, the earth started off dark. Verse two establishes our reference frame as the surface of the earth. Verse 3 describes the transition of our atmosphere from opaque to translucent. While translucent the surface could make out day and night but the sun and moon and stars were still not visible. On day four the visible outline of the sun was able to pierce through the earths atmosphere for the very fisrt time. Remember the atmosphere was a lot thicker at first. Part of the thinning is attributed to the slowing rate of the earths rotation and a few other factors. Verse 16 (a parenthetical note) may cause some to dispute what I just said but here is verse 16 and yet another quote from Dr. Hugh Ross,

    Genesis 1:16 "God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars."

    The Hebrew verb asa tranlated "made" appears in the appropriate form for completed action. (There are no verb tenses in the Hebrew language to parallel verb tenses in English, but threee Hebrew verb forms are used to denote action already completed, and commands.) [Hugh Ross, the Genesis Question, pg 44.]

    Verse 17-18 tells us why the sun was created. "God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness."

    This seems to hint that the sun was already in existence which helps drive home the point i am trying to make. On day three God made light on earth and we had evening and morning. This is the suns job. So far we have made it up to verse 19 and have found no contradictions between special and general revelation.

    We are now moving on to God creating living creatures building up to the main event. the creation of man. I just wanted to mention before we procede that insects aren't mentioned anywhere in the Hebrew text. A few unwarranted criticisms of the text have resulted from a misunderstanding. The "creeping thing" as translated in the KJV (verse 24), refers to mammals, Not insects!

    Genesis 1:20-23 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morning--the fifth day."

    The hebrew nouns used for the animals in these verses are sheres, nephesh, and op. Not every sea dweilling creature was made at this time. These verses mention the creation of sea mammals generically.

    "This Genesis passage mentions only the water-dwelling sheres and does not specify which kinds of sheres appeared in the water on this fifth day. Water-dwelling sheres are the most primitive creatures that require the visibility of the heavenly boies to regulate their biological clocks." [Ross, genesis Question, pg 47]

    This work is in progress still. This is as far as I have made it. I will update as I get the time.

  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    I'm not prepared to do the long-form on this, but I did want to get a couple of things onto the table.

    First, let me say that was one hell of a post. Even as I find things to disagree with (as it seems I'm almost destined to), it's important for me to note that this is a level of spiritual consideration I find critically important.

    Second, I do want you to be able to continue, so I will try not to distract you with certain questions until you do or do not make them relevant (e.g.--the "second" creation story in Genesis, but we'll get there if we really, really need to ... you're on too strong a vein to ask you to step out and take the new aspect before you arrive there naturally.)

    Lastly ... and please bear in mind that I find little to disagree with in the broader aspect ... do you feel in any way that, once you've established what has not occurred, or what is not a literal constraint, that you might have, for lack of a better term, written in a few portions of what the Bible says? To wit ... you've demonstrated excellent points about literalism, but I'm trying to see whether or not you're walking back to what might be a forgone conclusion within the structure of your faith. In its simplest form, it reads, If not A then absolutely, positively, most definitely B, while perhaps leaving out C-Z.

    If anything, what that would create, is the suggestion that you're thinking too hard on certain parts of it, but I'm not prepared to accuse you of anything like that. Truly, you are on a very important idea here, and I'm more interested in seeing where it leads than shooting it down, for the time being. When I say you're thinking too hard, all I mean is that once you show that this doesn't fit, you might be leaning too hard against that (as such), in order to make it fit.

    I'll spill my own divine cosmology eventually, but even when I was slinging it at Tony and Lori, it wasn't nearly organized enough.

    You've given me much to chew on ... Oh! One technically specific question (and if it's already there, I shall consider myself a buffoon for having missed it in three readings): When you examine Ex. 20.8-11, are we viewing the same "day" (yowm/yom) as examined in Genesis 1?

    thanx much,

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  18. Tesserect Registered Member

    I had not read the previous threads to this debate before I had posted my question. I wanted to see if others were still reading this topic before I started rereading the other 11 pages. My view on the literal interpretation is that this was what people in that era needed to know and could understand about creation. My personal view point is that God created the universe at the big bang and then did not need to touch up his work after that. When it says he created this and created that I tend to think that it was his will that had been around since the beginning finally manifesting itself. I believe God is omniscent and omnipotent so why take a hundred actions to do something when one will work just as well, but thats my personal opinion. I agree with einstein that creation was basically simple(relatively) and beautiful.
    That was a very informative post Vinnie and I got the two books by Gerald Schroeder from the library that I could find(the science of God and Gensis and the big bang) and after I read them I will try and find Hugh Ross's books.
    Here are some problems I have found with this interpretation so far. The early gases found on the earth were Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water vapour, and methane. This is from the encyclopedia britannica under Earth, geologic history of - development of the atmosphere and oceans. you can find this article at the online britannica: http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/8/0,5716,128008+2+117439,00.html

    The majority of the early atmosphere was from volcanic activity and this is also what supports our current atmosphere. Mars which has almost no volcanic activity now also has barely any atmosphere(1/1000ths earths) This is from britannica under Mars - composition and surface pressure. The majority of the early earth atmosphere would have been carbon dioxide from outgasing and subsequent volcanos. This early atmosphere may have been thick enough so that the sun could not have been seen from the surface, although due to the green house effect the surface temperature would have been incredably hot like on venus where the temp. is around 900 degrees f. On venus the light of day can be seen on the surface so that part of the explanation could be correct. Early single cellular life consisted of algae which covered the earth and began converting the carbon dioxide to (O2)oxygen and also forming free nitrogen. This type of life might have been able to survive under these conditions but im not sure. As the amount of oxygen grew on earth the atmosphere would have become more clear(O2 and nitrogen are clear gases) and the temperature would have dropped permitting the presence of early forms of vegtation. But as I mentioned earlier these kinds of plants need direct sunlight to photosynthesize.
    "Among the oldest known fossils are those found in the Fig Tree chert from the Transvaal, dated at 3,100,000,000 years old. These organisms have been identified as bacteria and blue-green algae(which are photosynthic)." - brit. under Life, the antiquity of life
    If there was only ultraviolet light then green would not have been a predominate color and the plants would not have evolved in this way.
    If the atmoshere was not cloudy due to carbon dioxide, but rather some other gas or upper atmosphereic debris then there would have been the opposite problem. There would not have been enough surface heat and we would have the characteristics of a 'nuclear winter' where the temp. would have been too low for liquid water and plants. This would also be the case for high quantites of interplanetary medium, but as far as I know most of it was sweep out of the inner solar system(past mars) by the solar wind immediately following the formation of the sun. This is the reason the inner planets have a rocky surface and do not have large quantites of hydrogen and helium like jupiter and saturn. The small amount of these two elements that did remain were not heavy enough for the weak gravites of small planets and were leaked into space.
    Secondly, you talk about days being any length of time, days, weeks, epochs and longer. That it was not important how long they lasted as long as the 6-on 1-off system was followed. But man was made on the sixth day followed by one day of rest. This would make the 7th day roughly 640 million years long(4.5 billion/7). This is much longer than man has been around and is even long before dinosaurs(230 million to 66.4 million years ago). The only possible explanation is the the 7th day was actually very short since if we trace the geneology given in the bible from Adam to Jesus it was only 6-10 thousand years ago. This may be possible I guess but wouldnt that mean we could work 168 hours in a week, take 1.5 seconds off for the sabbath(given a 10,000 year 7th day) and then go back to work?

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    My last problem with this type of interpretation is Genesis 2:5-6 which says:

    5 "and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth [2] and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth [3] and there was no man to work the ground,"
    6 "but streams [4] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-"

    This could not have happend in an interpretation like you describe. The only thing coming out of the ground was the lava, dust and gases from the volcanos. Granted this is where alot of the gases that formed water and the oceans came from. But as the bible states:

    Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

    This shows that the oceans were around long before the land masses unless the first day was a very short time(like a 24 hour day). If we are talking about a length of time greater than a few months we would have seen precipitation. The evaporation of water from the ocean is how clouds form. I have a hard time believing in a world covered with clouds and not a drop of rain. If the clouds were made of carbon dioxide then the atmosphere would be saturated with water almost all the time due to the high heat like in tropical rain forests where it rains continuously. I am not sure what else the early atmosphere could have been made up of since the main gases released from a volcano are carbon dioxide, steam, and small amounts of both sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.
    The only way there could have been no rain is if God stopped evaporation like he stopped light defraction through atmosphereic water particles until after the flood(rainbows). All this can be cleared up though if the creation days were actual 24 hour days.

    ACK that was a lot

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  19. RedCat Registered Member

    Boris you list:
    1) viruses and bacteria constantly adapting to antibiotics.
    2) your own immune system constantly adapting to new pathogens.
    3) pests evolving resistance to pesticides.
    4) hybrid plants appearing through cross-pollination.
    5) mutant animals being born in all species, all over the globe. Ever met a person with 6 fingers on each hand? I have! Plus, what do you think is the cause of the majority of miscarreages?
    6) genetic diseases/disorders/deletions/misconfigurations passed on from generation to generation along family lines.
    7) increase in dominant genetic aberrations as a result of inbreeding.
    8) artificial evolution, in the form of breeding. Ever considered where all the different kinds of dogs came from? Cows? Horses? Cats? Now, how could a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd possibly have a common ancestor? Any suggestions?!
    9) An isolated village in Mediterranean consists of people incapable of getting high levels of blood cholesterol. They are so isolated, they can all practically trace their origins back to a single family. They have 'evolved' resistance to high-fat diet, and suffer no increased risk of heart attack even if they feed solely on 100% lard. Currently, active research is being done on them to see how their bodies solved the problem, and whether the solution is applicable to other less fortunate ones.
    10) Genetic diversity is everywhere. Humans, being among some of the least genetically diverse species, are nevertheless staggeringly different from one another.
    11) Thousands of American Indians were wiped out by chickenpox -- a disease Europeans were highly resistant to. Why do you think that was?

    1) A lot of your points lead to adaptation, which is a change in an organism to survive in new environments
    2) Others are about cross-breeding and inbreeding, which have nothing to do with evolution, disfigurement from inbreeding is a result of insuficiant diversity of DNA.
    3) evolution deals with the change of cell structure to slowly create a more complex organism, not just combining two DNA strands and coming up with a new species. If that were the case every organism would be a new species.

    and just for the record I do believe in evolution, but I also believe that God created all origianal organisms and created everything needed to result in the Bid Bang. The species he created were created as to evolve.
  20. RedCat Registered Member

    sorry this board works differently from most others I have used ignore the last post. was reading the second post, my mistake
  21. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    Wow, I never thought this old thing would be resurrected. For now, a couple of comments.

    First, how can you simultaneously believe in evolution and the Big Bang, and yet believe that the first life was created by divine intervention? Evolution of life is only a small part of the general evolution of the universe -- "evolution" meaning progressive change. Key to these ideas is that the universe has been a self-confined system, that it progressed only according to its internal behaviors and without any "outside" intervention. It is due to that assumption that scientific models of the universe's evolution are so successful; if the assumption did not hold then the scientific models would have failed long ago.

    Second, I don't get your objections to my statements. If you indeed "believe" in evolution, then what is the point of the particular questions you offered? If you understand the theory of evolution by natural selection, then you understand that small changes add up over time resulting in large changes, and that is how new species evolve. Otherwise, what do you mean when you say that you "believe"?

    I am; therefore I think.
  22. RedCat Registered Member

    Just started thinking into the Bible recently, since my best friend just started a small Bible study. And the scientific explinations of events compaired to the Bible's are interesting, this particular subject caught me best.

    Divine intervention would have made the Big Bang possible, God may easily have just created the variables to create it. The Big Bang created the worlds that made evolution possible in the first place, though God had to intervene one more time to let there be life. In Genesis it says it takes seven days for God to create the world, however considering the sun and moon were not even created till the fourth day, how could one tell how long each day was? The Big Bang took a while to settle out. And evolution took a while to make a lot of progress.

    You're right about small changes adding up to large changes, didn't really think about it enough I guess.

    What is Time?
  23. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    Generally, you will find that I have no respect for the Bible whatsoever (I'm an atheist.) To me, it's obvious that the Bible (and Judaism altogether, as well as any other religions) is nothing more than an artifact of human civilization, and as such is a mere work of folklore. I'll disregard that for the moment though, and humor your view for a moment. Having said that, I find it intriguing that you do not see any problem with the 7-days chronology.

    First, you will find that the chronology and sequence of Genesis does not agree with the known history of the universe, any way you twist it.

    Second, if you believe that God touched off Big Bang and then just let it unfurl, then how can you explain the statements that God said the word (I suppose that's the act of touching off the bang) -- and then proceeded to <u>create</u> other things, day by day. If all God did was to set the universe off, then at that point God was done. There would be nothing left to do other than sit back and watch the universe evolve.

    Then, you might observe that there is nothing special about our solar system. The universe is sufficiently large and varied that billions of similar systems are bound to be scattered through it. It makes no sense, then, for God to specifically create our sun and our earth; God could have simply chosen them from what was already abundantly available.

    I could go on and on, but I really see little point in it. There are a million discussions just like this one on newsgroups and bulletin boards all over the net. The truth of the matter is that the story of creation is not an explanation for the universe's current structure or its evolution, life's presence on Earth or the existance of you and me. It is merely a fable, and it is this fact that determines its worth.

    I am; therefore I think.

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